This is Us

This is Real

Megan Dean, Reporter

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In a television world full of shows where profanity, good gone bad, and sex appeal are core elements of their plot, a TV show centered around fixing a seemingly broken family should get drowned out by its competition. However, This is Us has taken television by storm. Created by Dan Fogelman, the show first aired September 20, 2016 bringing NBC an audience of 10 million and revealing a big twist that sets the show apart from so many others: it takes place in two time periods while following the same family.

While this unique way of telling a story by revealing present day consequences as a result of past events is a special aspect of the show, it seems to be only one way the new show sets itself apart.

The cast of This is Us does an excellent job of capturing the raw moments in day to day life. The Pearson television family includes mother Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore; father Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia; twins Kevin and Kate, played by Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz respectively; and adopted son Randall, played by Sterling K. Brown.

The plot may seem slow and lacking action in comparison to other shows, however the progression of the family’s unity keeps viewers on the edge of their seat. Watching how the three kids’ upbringing affects their later adult life also helps the storyline take viewers episode to episode.

Of course, several other actors and actresses make the storyline believable too. Ron Cephas Jones plays William, Randall’s reunited biological father; Susan Kelechi Watson plays Beth, Randall’s tenacious yet supportive wife; and Chris Sullivan plays Toby, Kate’s hilarious love interest. As the storyline enters the past, a talented group of young actors and actresses play Kevin, Kate, and Randall’s child and adolescent selves also.

This is Us  tackles difficult topics that so many American viewers can relate to. From topics like being overweight and divorce to adoption, racial tension, and cancer, the television show does not shy away from the harsh reality of so many people’s lives.

In an earlier episode, viewers see young Randall struggling with his identity as he is both adopted and of a different race than his family. His father, Jack, pulls him aside and coaxes, “You’re adopted, and we don’t talk about that enough. Because to me, you are every part my son. And maybe I don’t want you to feel like you stand out. But I need you to know something. I want you to stand out. I want all of you to be as different as you can possibly be, in all the best ways.”

This short scene is one of many that address the small, yet most impactful, moments in one’s life.

“I think it’s such a popular show because everyone can relate to it,” said sophomore Madison Sparkman, “It shows that everyone has issues, no matter how great they look from the outside, and it demonstrates how everyone has a past that made them the person that they are today.”

Actor, Justin Hartley told the TODAY show that he enjoys working on This is Us because it is “…real life no matter what walk of life you come from.”

This is Us airs tonight on NBC at 9/8 c and has its season finale next Tuesday, March 14; previous episodes are available via nbc.com.

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This is Us